Book info

Hôtel Transylvania (2015)

Hôtel Transylvania (2015)
Rating
3.75 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
044661100X (ISBN13: 9780446611008)
languge
English
series
publisher
warner books (ny)
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Hôtel Transylvania (2015)
Hôtel Transylvania (2015)

About book: (As posted on my blog, see "Book Blog" dated July 8, 2011)In this novel, Yarbro has taken a historical person, Count of Saint Germain, and written him as a heroic vampire. Hôtel Transylvania is also a real place. As Yarbro writes in her notes at the end of the novel, "Built in the reign of Loius XIII, Hôtel Transylvania stands today at 9 Quai Malaquais in le Faubourg Saint-Germain. Its name was taken from Prinz Franz Leopold Ragoczy, who stayed there from 1713 to 1717, due in part to his role in the War of the Spanish Succession." Along with her research on the Count of Saint Germain and Hôtel Transylvania, Yarbro also did some research on vampires. (I really wish other authors would have done the same - *cough* Stephenie Meyer *cough* - sorry, I'm not into sparkling vampires.) Hôtel Transylvania is the first book in a series about Le Comte de Saint-Germain.For a long while, I avoided most vampire fiction because they all seemed overly romantic in nature to the point of being trite (I don't like standard romance novels to begin with so I'm not going to be interested in vampire romance). One long-standing popular vampire series is Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, which I just didn't find interesting. I couldn't even pay attention to Interview with a Vampire because I found it terribly boring. Now, I had read Dracula by Bram Stoker when I was a teenager, and that novel I found interesting. For one thing, that novel didn't present vampires as romantic in nature. For another, that novel was more action thriller. That being said, I liked the idea for Buffy when that movie came out. It was a shame that the movie was not done half as well as the later TV series. Although romance comes into play in the Buffy TV series, it's not the main story-line. Romance stories to me seem to be missing the point of life. A young woman's purpose in life isn't to sit around waiting for the perfect mate to come woo her and make her swoon. (Sorry, guys, I'm not that easy to impress.) There's a lot more to life than just finding a mate. This point is driven home with the Buffy series. Sure, Buffy at 16, and even 17, just wants her perfect prom night, but ultimately she decides to deal with more important matters - save the world (again!). If anything, I'd say the Buffy series is great for showing young women why it's not a good idea to focus on romance all the time. Every time Buffy focused on romance, she was miserable. I think she was rather happier when she was killing the "baddies". Hey, she had a purpose in life and she was good at something - that gave her confidence.In any case, no Anne Rice novels for me. Since Buffy, I've picked up the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series, which is pretty good in my opinion. Yarbro's Saint-Germain series was recommended to me by my boyfriend (of all people), but to be fair, he says he was impressed with the research Yarbro did for the novel(s). I'd have to agree with him. Hôtel Transylvania is a fairly easy read. I found I like Yarbro's idea of putting letters at the end of each chapter. The style of writing for the letters is similar to classic storytelling, which I like. Hôtel Transylvania is pegged as romance by some, but I found what was interesting about the novel was the contrast between the Count of Saint Germain and the villains of the story. The villains in this story happen to be Satanists, who are basically searching for their next virgin sacrifice. Although Yarbro does not write about it in her notes at the end, I'm pretty sure she must have done some research previously about Satanic cults. Having spent some time studying occult philosophy myself (not all occult is bad, and Satanism just makes it easy for people to go to extremes, though I do not know of any Satanists personally), I know the difference between Satanic practices versus other occult practices. I can say that based on what I've researched before, Yarbro got the gist of the Satanic rituals correct. Virgin sacrifice means more power. Yup. Upside-down pentagram. Yup. (Note that not all upside-down pentagrams are bad either. In occult philosophy, an upside-down pentagram represents the elements over spirit. Even in some harmless rituals, you might want to emphasize the elements over spirit.)Back to Saint-Germain, who happens to be a good vampire ("Faith, don't stake him! He's good.") and the Satanists, who are very, extremely bad. You might note that in writing about this novel, I'm doing my best to write in a light-hearted tone. This is because, honestly, this novel with its description of a fictional Satanic ritual, is going to be hard to take for some readers. This novel comes off as light-hearted in some places (when Madelaine is conversing with Saint-Germain, for example; seriously, Saint-Germain seems so fun to be around - it's the perfect cover, how can he be a vampire? he's not emo enough!), but when it comes to the Satanic ritual scene, it's pretty dark. Basically, a minor character is kidnapped, tied up, molested, humiliated, degraded, then raped repeatedly. If Bradley's Two to Conquer upset some readers, Hôtel Transylvania will infuriate those same readers. I wouldn't recommend this novel to them. However, I will say that it's the mark of a good author to be able to write some tough scenes. I'm not saying it should be done all the time, but if it is done, the writing should be done well. I will also say that if rape is part of the plot of a story it shouldn't be avoided. Sure, it's a tough subject, but ignoring the subject isn't going to make it go away. It's not as if Yarbro is writing about this young woman being raped and then implying it's a good thing. It's obviously a very horrible thing. The Satanists are cruel, sadistic, power-hungry men. Saint-Germain, even though he is a vampire, is a kind, gentle, and caring man. In choosing to pit Saint-Germain against Satanists in the first novel, Yarbro sets up Saint-Germain as not just a good character, but as a model of humanity. Of course, he can only do so much without risking exposure for himself; and that seems to be his one continuing dilemma.Overall, I did not mind this story. Yarbro does a wonderful job of creating the Saint-Germain character. I like that she did some research for the novel (no sparkling vampires! haha). Although the main plot is that Saint-Germain falls in love and must rescue his love interest from the Satanists, I didn't find it too trite. For one thing, the story isn't focused on Madelaine all the time (so the reader doesn't necessarily have to read about Madelaine pining away for Saint-Germain). Some chapters are concerned with aspects of Saint-Germain's life.

Yarbro’s story is told as a narrative and through letters between the various characters. The narrative moves the story forward, while the letters allow the readers more insight into the characters and plot. Le Comte de Saint-Germain is charming, intelligent, and witty, and with intensely dark brooding eyes, his charms are almost impossible to resist. Madelaine Roxanne Bertrande de Montalia is beautiful, young, and precocious. When the two meet, there is instant chemistry. The love that grows between the worldly Saint-Germain and the innocent Madelaine is intense, but it must be hidden because he is not an acceptable suitor and he just happens to be a vampire. As there love grows, so does the danger that Madelaine unknowingly faces. A pact was made many years ago that promised the first born of the Marquis de Montalia to the Satan worshipping le Baron de Saint Sebastien and his brotherhood known as the Circle. Madelaine is that first born child and her life is about to take a turn she never saw coming. Will Madelaine discover what is happening in time to escape her terrible destiny?Overall, I liked this book. It was fast-paced, the atmosphere continued to build, and the characters were engaging. However, I did have a tough time with the darker aspects of the novel, like the Satan worshipping Circle and their attempt to gain power through sexual abuse, rape, and torture. I understand though that as a horror novel, there needs to be this sense that something truly terrible is going to happen, but it just didn't really sit that well with me. I also found the constant reference to the Comte's "small hands" somewhat off putting. I understand that the real Saint Germain apparently had small hands and feet, but I would have preferred it if the author had skipped over that fact, or at least not drilled it in quite so far. But the story does a good job of drawing the reader in and it's a quick read.
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Reviews
TailFeather
Yaaaawn! I decided to read this book because a) I loved "False Dawn" by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and b) I thought I'd try another genre other than my favorite of Urban Myth and Fairy Tales. Big mistake on both accounts. Half the book is literally explanations of what people are wearing, and I really don't care.By the time I was done reading the paragraph about what someone was wearing I had to get back into what the story was about. It was very jarring and gratuitous. I agree with another reviewer: it drags. It's supposed to be about the vampire Saint-Germain and the woman he falls in love with, but the story focuses more on these Satanic men who want to sacrifice her than the actual love story.I hate when I read a book and think Damn, if only this were edited differently or rewritten I could really love it. If you are into historical fiction, especially French historical fiction you might really like this. But I will stay with the "Vampire Chronicles" by Anne Rice for for the kind of vampire stories I like and can, forigive the pun, sink my teeth into.
AtenRa
Comte Saint Germain is an elegant,charismatic and mysterious foreigner, in mid-18th century Paris.Saint Germain is one of the million names he has acquired throughout his existence, which basically counts back to the beginning of time.He is, of course, a vampire.However, he's unlike any vampire I have ever read.What came as a complete surprise to me, is his character.He is good.He is THE hero.He is there to save the damsel in distress because he feels it's his obligation, as a noble and gallant man.Not because he desperately wants her or because he wants something in return.I'm not saying that all the other vampire's I've read about are like that, but they all had a darkness in them,giving off a sense of danger even to the ones dearest and closest to them.St.Germain is not like that.He is so good and kind hearted, it's almost awkward.In a sentence : he is the purest vampire in the history of vampires.He cannot feel ecstasy through the act of sex, since,according to Yarbro's take on vampires, "they[vampires:]are not capable of genital sexual contact, but they express their desires through their biting". I know a lot of people who are into PNR may be put off by this, and I'll be honest, I was too at the beginning.But when I finished reading, I found myself being fascinated and intrigued by the change of the vampire status quo.Being different is not always bad.However, the lack of sex scenes does by no means indicate that this is a Young Adult book, far from it.It contains extensive and very detailed descriptions of Satanic rituals along with nudity.Hotel Transylvania may not the best one of the series storywise, but Yarbro's exquisite writing is what's keeping it alive,in my opinion.She portrays vividly and with impeccable period details the glamour of 18th century Paris upper class and high society along with its decadence and immorality.She is an amazing historical fiction writer(romance is mostly a sublot in this book).You should definitely try out at least one book of St.Germain series, since,as far as I know,each one is set in a different place and in a different time, so continuity is not an issue.I recommend them,basically because of Yarbro's incredible writing but also because after all these modernized teen hunky vampires, it's good to sit back and find out where it all began, enjoying a wonderfully written, classic vampire novel.
Robyn
This was a short but sweet entry in what appears to be a mind bendingly long series. There was a lot to enjoy in this book, Saint Germain is a fun character, with an engaging and entertaining style; the clothing descriptions, while I see they would be tedious for some, were interesting to me, and, while I'm no expert in clothing of the time period, felt well-researched and realistic. The plot, did feel a bit hokey in places, but it had the grace to keep things moving, and provided some really nice atmospheric chills occasionally. I enjoyed the pacing most of all, and while it sounds like a backhanded compliment to praise a book's brevity, there's something to be said with an author who can get on with it, without endless passages of angst and pointless clutter. Even the seemingly flabby clothing descriptions did a lot to give us some insight into the characters wearing them. There were a few annoyances; the author seems to get hung up on certain phrases, and uses them too often, but it's not a huge fault; some of the motivations felt rushed, but I suppose if I'm going to praise the book's concision, I cannot complain too loudly about that. Is this a life changing book full of important philsophy? No, but it's certainly a nice bit of light and breezy reading, good for a lazy morning.
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